As a wise uncle of a certain iconic spider hero once said: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Stepping into a position of power means burdening the responsibility that comes with it.
If you’re a politician, you’re responsible for representing the interests of your constituents. If you’re a police officer or a judge, your responsibility is to uphold the justice of law. Even a marketing and advertising professional has a modicum of power—and with it, a duty to act responsibly when leveraging data.
But there needs to be another element at play here: accountability. Not everyone who’s in a position of power chooses to act responsibly. This isn’t a discourse on politics, pop culture or social struggle—it’s simply human nature. Responsibility doesn’t ensure people in a position of power will do the right thing. Accountability does.
As communicators with the power to shape messaging and target audiences, JXM constantly reminds ourselves of our responsibility to act with integrity. More importantly, we reflect on strong ethics and a commitment to our clients that holds us accountable.
A call to action, not antagonism
What does it mean to be responsible as a marketer? In the grand scheme of things, we see it as a simple matter of being respectful of our audiences—of their time, needs, wants, expectations, and, above all, their data. For JXM, acting responsibly often boils down to being considerate.
For instance, there’s a difference between leveraging our access to people and serving them with messaging we KNOW will resonate vs. the typical industry shotgun approach, intent on hitting the widest possible audience. Done right, our approach can be a welcome addition to someone’s day: an answer to their question or a solution to their problem. In contrast, the scattershot approach is well and truly despised as an unwanted interruption.
If we go a level deeper, it’s easy to see where accountability governs our responsibility. We’re accountable to our clients and the metrics we’ve helped them establish. We’re accountable to the advertising frameworks of the platforms and services we use. And, even beyond this, we hold ourselves accountable to the ideals JXM is built on—among them, acting with integrity and transparency.
Finding a moral green area
The world doesn’t operate in black and white; rather, we live in shades of gray. That makes it all the more important to understand both responsibility and accountability. Who or what are you beholden to, and how can you best-act in that interest? It’s this understanding that JXM values deeply in working with healthcare and finance organizations, where demographic data is anonymized, but nonetheless incredibly personal.
Often, we find that taking the time to establish the parameters of our position makes our duties clear—and allows us to execute against them with quickness, confidence, and clarity. Who is our client? What is their solution? Who could benefit most from it? How can we best-communicate its values? Who, what, when, where, why, and how are simple questions to ask, and together, they provide the context for our responsibility as advertisers.
When the targeting and messaging are right, there’s a good chance we’ve hit the right person at the right time. Not only does this accomplish our mission of reaching people where they are with relevant messaging, it also leads to reduced media waste and lower spend for our clients. There’s green in understanding gray, and knowing where you stand in a given position makes it easier to act with integrity.
Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you
Accountability is often construed with a negative connotation—repercussions that accompany the failure to act responsibly. But, like most words, there’s a deeper meaning in its application.
For JXM, our sense of accountability stems from a credo of doing right by those we interact with: on the client-side and the advertising side. For us, accountability isn’t a scary word: it’s a welcome one, because it means we’re doing things right. For us, accountability and responsibility are often one in the same. It’s our duty to do unto others as we’d have them do unto us.
As a brand, we don’t discuss ethics in ads much—we’ve been fortunate enough to take our credo for granted as the norm. But in an era of increasingly obfuscated and divisive digital marketing practices, we think it’s wise to start making ethics a core part of the conversation. After all, it’s a key ingredient in keeping us (and our industry) honest and accountable.
If you’re looking to reach an audience through an ethical, moral, well-orchestrated approach, we’d love to chat. Drop us a line, so we can do business better, together.